Working on my Career Profile!
I work in one of the widest ranging disciplines in what is called Photonics. Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling, and detecting light. This covers producing glasses to help people see, developing telescopes to explore distant galaxies, creating medical sensors to diagnose diseases, and providing the building blocks of the Internet allowing us to communicate with friends right across the world. In my job, I research new ways to integrate photonics and electronic components into miniaturised packages covering everything from devices for eye imaging, aircraft sensing and fast data communications.
My Typical Day
My work day starts at about 9am. I usually have some conference calls to take in the morning, where I discuss the projects I'm working on with our partners across Europe or the USA. Onces these calls are over, I work on new designs or try to solve problems that have come up over the last few days. In the afternoon I usually go to the lab where I can check on the progress of each project first hand and work with the rest of the team to do some test or fabrication work.
How I got into this job
After my undergraduate degree in Physics, I decided to do a PhD at the Tyndall National Institute in Photonics. I really wanted to stay within this field after my PhD, so I worked for 2 years as a post-doctoral researcher. After that, I moved into my current role as a researcher in the Photonic Packaging Group. My background in photonic device testing and design made Photonic Packaging an ideal fit for me.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be in the same career as you?
A degree in Physics/Engineering provides a great background to the research I do, so i would definitely recommend this if someone is interested in my field. Apart from that, I think it would be a good idea to see if there are any internships available that would give you a first hand look at what the job is about.
What do you see as your next step in your career?
The next step in my career is to start building my reputation in Photonics and start to collaborate more on EU projects with as many people doing cutting-edge research as possible.
What other sorts of jobs can you do with your qualifications?
Qualifications in Physics are useful in a surprising number of fields. Some of my friends have become researchers like myself, while others have moved into Engineering, Finance, Data Analysis and IT.
What's the best part of your current job?
The best part of my job is the variety. Because it is research, there are new challenges and problems to be solved daily. This keeps the work interesting and means you are constantly learning new skills
What don't you like about your current job?
In my job we work with a lot of different research groups around Europe. One of the most difficult things I find about the work is trying to manage people's expectations about how long it takes to do certain tasks. With research, there are always unknowns. So things sometimes take much longer that we first think!